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Midwestern hemp database applications open until July 24

Because industrial hemp is one of the fastest growing crops across the Midwest, researchers are recruiting growers to learn more.

University of Illinois Extension educators are working with growers to source field data and provide cutting-edge research through the Midwestern Hemp Database.

“The database is an interactive platform, updated weekly, that helps guide growers,” says Phillip Alberti, Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educator. “Together, we’re working with growers and researchers to understand the performance of industrial hemp varieties used in the Midwest and production practices.”

In 2020 and 2021, over 180 growers participated in the project. You can see the results at go.illinois.edu/MHDReport.

Through the project, hemp growers submit information about their crop and university staff analyze and share that data with the public. In exchange for their information, growers receive significantly discounted cannabinoid testing on samples from a private lab. Prices range from $35 to $40 per sample, depending on the lab.

“Several years in, and we are still figuring out what is and is not working in the Midwest,” Alberti says. “This project allows us to learn a lot in a short period of time while allowing growers to make the most informed decisions possible.”

Not only useful for processors, the database also benefits regulators. The impending adoption of USDA-approved rules has made 2022 another valuable year to gather the information that growers will use for years to come, Alberti says.

The database is a collaborative project between four midwestern land grant universities: Michigan State, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Purdue University.

“This project puts data from around the Midwest into an easily accessible and interactive format,” Alberti says. “Growers can feel confident using this database to make informed decisions about their operation.”

Producers can apply for the 2022 growing season by visiting go.illinois.edu/HempDatabase. Applications for the 2022 growing season are open until July 24.

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